Homeless man John Byrne was begging on O’Connell Bridge when his pet rabbit, named Barney, was snatched from his hands by passerby Gary Kearney and thrown into the icy river.
He immediately leaped into the river to save his beloved pet rabbit, reviving Barney through a Kiss of life, he resuscitated the bunny before he passed out and later both were rescued by the firefighters.
John Byrne has been living on the streets for 23 years. Panhandling on the bridge is a regular routine in his daily life. He owns multiple pets including dogs, so many nights he’s forced to sleep on the streets.
As for why he risked his life, he said he was in shock when he saw his pet rabbit swimming around in circles, unable to escape its impending doom.
“I wasn’t going to leave him there,” John told reporters while standing outside court. ”I had to get him, I had to jump in to get him.”
Gary Kearney pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to animal cruelty and torture. The Irishman has been sentenced to four months detention for his needless act of animal cruelty.